Successful selection of newspapers for digitization is the result of combining judgments about the information value and completeness of available titles, with analysis of the image capture quality that is possible from a given set of microfilm. NDNP assumes that negative microfilm will play a leading role in digital image capture and that original paper copy will fill only a limited supporting role.
Image Quality Selection Criteria
1. Technical Quality of Microfilm
Newspaper titles meeting intellectual selection criteria for high research value, geographic and temporal coverage must be of sufficient image quality on microfilm to yield satisfactory digital images and automated text conversion output. Poor quality microfilm and/or poorly prepared original material on microfilm will likely yield unsatisfactory results. See the NDNP Technical Guidelines for information on how to assess the quality of microfilm.
Intellectual Content Selection Criteria
1. Research Value
The foremost reason for selection of an individual title for digitization is that the newspaper significantly reflects the political, economic and cultural history of the State. These include, but are not limited to, titles of statewide or regional influence and titles important as a source of information about a variety of ethnic, racial, political, economic, religious, or other special audiences or interest groups.
Preference should be given to titles that are recognized as "paper of record" at the state or county level and contain published legal notices, news of state and regional governmental affairs, and announcements of community news and events, including births, deaths, and marriages.
2. Geographic Representation
One objective of the NDNP is to ensure broad geographic coverage of American newspapers in digital form. Preference should be given to titles that provide state coverage or at least multi-county coverage of a majority of the population.
3. Temporal Coverage
Titles that provide coverage of a geographic area or a group over long time periods are preferred over short lived titles or titles with significant gaps. Scanning will be limited initially to the time period 1836-1922 but good candidate titles may eventually span many decades before this target period. Continuity is preferred over short runs or scattered issues.
Refined Selection Criteria
In cases where more than one paper meets historical, geographic, and temporal criteria the selection committee may need to consider additional factors in making final decisions.
1. Bibliographic Completeness of Microfilm Copy
Newspapers issues will be scanned primarily from publicly available master microfilm. These files must be essentially complete within the 1836-1922 timeframe to achieve the temporal selection criteria. Important titles with only sporadic issues on microfilm would not be good candidates at this phase of the project. An almost complete microfilm file can be enhanced through the scanning of paper copies when available.
2. Orphan titles
Given the tremendous volume of newspaper material published during the target time period (1836-1922), it is likely that both private and public efforts will be undertaken to make this material available in digital form. High research value titles that have ceased publication and lack active ownership likely to invest in future digital conversion should receive special consideration for NDNP.
Newspaper titles that document a significant minority community at the state or region level during the target time period (1836-1922) should be considered as a means to balance content. Only English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish language titles may be converted during this NDNP phase.
Newspapers titles that have already been converted to digital form may not be a good candidate for inclusion, but applicants may justify selecting such a paper in special circumstances.
Last Updated: 11/28/2012